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St. Joseph Man Guilty of Fraud in Solar Panel Rebate Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A co-owner of a St. Joseph solar energy installation company pleaded guilty in a fraudulent rebate scheme that netted the company more than $1 million. Federal prosecutors say 38-year-old Richard Schonemann pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy and making false statements. Under the plea agreement, the government will not recommend a sentence of more than 15 months and the forfeiture of $350,000. Schonemann owned part of U.S. Solar in St. Joseph, which sold and installed solar-powered panel systems across northwest Missouri. Prosecutors say the company received $1.39 million in fraudulent rebates between 2011 and 2013. Prosecutors say he and a co-conspirator also falsified usage reports needed to certify that installed systems were still running. The St. Joseph News-Press reports that the co-conspirator hasn't been named. No sentencing date has been scheduled.

The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.